Barclays helps fund Drax power station, which is the world’s biggest tree-burning power station and the UK’s single largest carbon emitter. Please help us to call on Barclays to #DropDrax
In 2020, Barclays “pledged to align all of its financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris agreement” and claims to have taken action to safeguard biodiversity. Barclays also says that it excludes: “Bioenergy production that competes with food production or decreases forestation, biodiversity, or carbon pools in soil” from its Green Energy Criteria for financing renewable energy.
Barclays’ investments in Drax
However, Barclays is funding forest destruction, biodiversity loss, environmental injustice and climate-wrecking emissions through its investments in Drax which is the UK’s single largest carbon emitter and the biggest wood-burning power station in the entire world.
This financing includes a £500 million bond in 2017 and a £300 million corporate loan to help fund Drax’s coal to biomass conversion; a loan which was extended by Barclays in 2015, 2017 and 2020. You can find out more about Barclays’ funding of Drax from the Sharklays website here.
What can I do?
Why Barclays should Drop Drax
By investing in Drax, Barclays is helping to fund a company which is making the climate crisis worse through its planet-wrecking tree burning. In 2021, Drax emitted over 13.4 million tonnes of CO2 from burning 8.3 million tonnes of wood pellets. Last year, over 500 scientists warned in a letter to President Biden and other world leaders that burning wood for energy is a disaster for the climate: “As numerous studies have shown, this burning of wood will increase warming for decades to centuries. That is true even when the wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas.”
Drax is harming wildlife
Much of the wood burned by Drax comes from some of the world’s most biodiverse forests in the Southern US, Canada, Estonia and Latvia which are home to many rare and endangered species. These include black bears in the Southeastern US, threatened caribou (reindeer) in Canada and flying squirrels in Estonia along with many species of birds.
Drax is polluting communities
Barclays’ investments in Drax are also leading to environmental injustice around the world. The communities living near the pellet mills which supply wood to Drax are losing the forests which protect them from flooding and extreme weather. They are also suffering serious health impacts from constant air, water and noise pollution from the pellet mills.
Drax Power Station in Yorkshire is also one of Europe’s top five emitters of PM10 air pollution. Burning wood emits nitrogen oxides (NOx), which have been linked to breathing problems, as well as PM2.5 particulates which can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer. The World Health Organization highlights that there are no safe levels of PM2.5 particulates for human health.
Drax accused of risking the health of their workers
Moreover, Drax is facing prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive for risking the health of their workers through exposure to wood dust. Drax is pleading not guilty and the trial is due to start in June 2023.
Barclays’ fossil fuel funding
You can find out more about Barclays’ investments in Drax from Banktrack here. Barclays is also the biggest financier of fossil fuels in Europe and the seventh largest in the world – you can find out about the bank’s fossil fuel investments from Market Forces here.
There are 3 key ways you can take action to call on Barclays to #DropDrax
1. Complete the form below to tell the bank to stop funding Drax’s tree burning, forest destruction and environmental injustice.
2. Share news from the Barclays AGM demonstrations on the 4th of May
Barclays held its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 4th May at the Central Convention Complex in Manchester. We were delighted to join groups including Fossil Free London, Money Rebellion, Axe Drax and Manchester Friends of the Earth for the Defund Climate Chaos demonstration outside the AGM to call on Barclays to stop investing in Drax and fossil fuels. You can find out more about the fantastic demonstrations inside and outside the AGM here: https://www.cityam.com/inside-barclays-chaotic-shareholder-meeting-agm-halted-as-security-chase-and-drag-out-climate-activists/
3. Support the XR Midlands "Better without Barclays" Campaign
We are very excited to support the XR Midlands “Better without Barclays” campaign which is calling on Barclays to stop funding fossil fuels and Drax’s biomass burning. You can find out more about the campaign here and you can sign up for an action pack here.
There have already been amazing ‘Better without Barclays’ actions taking place across the UK. You can find out more about some of them below: